Metro Manila · Escolta Museum
Built in the year 1938, the beaux-arts building called Calvo now houses what is deemed as one of the most underrated museums in Metro Manila.
The Calvo Museum, more popularly known as the Escolta Museum, sits in one of the oldest parts of Manila near the Capitol Theater and other architectural gems that survived the Pacific War. First owned by a wealthy widower named Emiliana Calvo, the place enjoyed a frequent audience during Escolta’s heyday.
The museum, now home to various Old Manila memorabilia, has a collection of photos of the country’s socialites and personalities. One display is devoted to the country’s film stars and beauty queens. Calvo also showcases a collection of vintage bottles –the most notable of which is the Ginebra bottle designed by Filipino National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.
When the war broke out, many of Manila’s structures were turned into rubble and the lively street that is Escolta lost its appeal. The Calvo building, along with other older structures in the area, was spared. Some photographs of the destruction made their way to the Calvo Museum and are displayed there to this day,
Calvo houses "before & after"-photos that show visitors the beauty of Manila and the devastation it suffered during the war and what was left in its wake.
Perhaps, one of the most heartbreaking facts about Calvo Museum and Escolta Street is that they are on the verge of being forgotten. While Escolta still registers in the minds of Filipinos and it is still has a lot of foot traffic on a daily basis, it is no longer as grand as it used to be. Once called the Queen of Streets, Escolta used to be one of the stops of Manila’s tramvia. It was home to popular restaurants, several film production studios, a department store, banks and a number of other businesses.
The Calvo Building, although suffering from neglect, is still one of the most beautiful structures in Escolta. Various non-government agencies are now working very hard to bring back the former grandeur of the old street and the architectural gems that sit there. While physical restoration is not yet underway, these agencies are building awareness about Escolta and Manila’s heritage.
Location & How To Get There
Calvo Building, 266 Escolta Street, Binondo, Manila
Tel: (63) 2 241 4762